Archive for November, 2007

From genetics to biochemistry

A few months ago, I pointed out a paper identifying variants near the FTO gene as being involved in obesity. I noted how strikingly little was known about this gene, concluding: So essentially, nothing is known about this gene. Thanks to this study, this is unlikely to be the case for long. Little did I […]

Happy 100 years Jacques Barzun!!!!

Happy 100 years Jacques Barzun!!!! Check out Jacques Barzun Centennial for a list of resources.

Education and Ethnic Groups in Britain

I have previously reported on the annual education statistics in Britain (e.g. here), so I will give an update for 2006-07. Figures have just been published for performance at the GCSE examinations, taken by most children at age 16. An official press release is here. Performance by children of all ethnic groups continues to improve […]

Jim Manzi on IQ differences

Over at The American Scene Jim Manzi has an interesting post. Labels: IQ

Liberman responds

Mark Liberman has updated his post on race and IQ in response to my post. I actually wrote out a long response and deleted it–believe it or not, I have about as much of a desire to get sucked into this conversation as he does. But I strongly, strongly disagree with his claim that showing […]

Are tall women like Porsches?

We have already seen that female adult film stars are just average in height, while sexy celebrities are a half-sigma above-average. However, consider the heights of the 2007 Miss World contestants, whose median is 68.9 in (N = 106), a clearly significant difference from the US mean of 64.1 in. (where an SD = 3 […]

Linguist: I can use R, you can’t. Thus, your motives are questionable. QED.

Mark Liberman at Language Log (a blog which I very much enjoy, I should point out) approvingly links to Cosma Shalizi’s rant against Slate for publishing a series of articles on race and IQ. His conclusion: So to start with, you should ask yourself whether you can define and calculate the variance of a set […]

Heights of female adult film stars: Perfectly average

As a follow-up on a previous post about the heights of female sex symbols picked from the pool of celebrities, which found that they’re about 1/2 SD above-average, let’s now look at how tall adult film stars are. They’re worth examining since they are chosen almost exclusively based on how attractive they are to the […]

The mystical sense

Reading the Bhagavad Gita I am struck (as usual) by commonalities between mystical philosophies rooted in a method of psychological introspection and meditation. For example, the tendency toward monism is marked across many traditions which emerge out of specific religious or philosophical movements. This even includes the monotheistic religions of the West, whose creeds and […]

The Moral Sense

Research in the latest issue of Nature provides evidence that babies can distinguish ‘helpful’ from ‘unhelpful’ people at a very early age, before they acquire language and (presumably) before they can have learned the distinction from their own experience. The evidence comes from staged scenarios using ‘nice’ and ‘nasty’ dolls. Babies prefer the nice ones. […]

OCA2, blue eyes and skin color

In a few recent posts I’ve referred to the fact that variation on the OCA2 locus can predict about 3/4 of the eye color variation in the European population. Specifically, OCA2 is probably the quasi-Mendelian locus which is the culprit behind the classical dominant/recessive pedigree inheritance patterns which geneticists have long noted. The genomic region […]

Seasons, genes, behavior and brain

Season of Birth and Dopamine Receptor Gene Associations with Impulsivity, Sensation Seeking and Reproductive Behaviors. Labels: Genetics

One stop linking for personal genomics

Over @ Hsien-Hsien Lei‘s. Labels: Genetics

The unfortunate consequences of misunderstanding race

Reading the links that come in to GNXP, I happened upon this post on what the author referrs to as “scientific racism”. This bit caught my eye: I sat on a grant review committee recently for a national-level competition for multi-million dollar grants of an agency I won’t name. The review committee was quite large, […]

Brown eyed girl?

Peter Frost states: I suspect there is some incipient sex-linkage, i.e., European women may be somewhat likelier to have non-brown eyes and non-black hair. If this sex-linkage is mediated by prenatal estrogenization there may also be some impact on personality and temperament. But I really don’t know, and unfortunately there are still more questions than […]

Cloning and culture

An article in The New York Times, Are Scientists Playing God? It Depends on Your Religion, surveys attitudes toward cloning and biological engineering in general. Roughly the thesis being reported is that there is a trichotomy between post-Christian societies, traditional Christian societies and those where Eastern religions predominate. Generally I’m skeptical of these grand cultural […]

European American population substructure

PLOS early release, Discerning the ancestry of European Americans in genetic association studies: We have analyzed four different genome-wide data sets involving European American samples, and demonstrated that the same two major axes of variation are consistently present in each data set. The first major axis roughly corresponds to a geographic axis of northwest-southeast European […]

Notes on Correlation: Part 2

Part 1 of these notes discussed the general meaning and use of the concepts of correlation and regression. The notes are intended to provide background for other posts I am planning, but if they are of any use as a general introduction to the subject, so much the better. Part 2 discusses some problems of […]

Blue eyed ice queens and brown eyed tarts?

I’m interested in blue eyes. Specifically, I wonder why they’re around at all. Unlike blonde hair, there’s only one region of the world where blue eyes are extant at high frequencies, and there is a pretty regular drop off as a function of distance. It seems that variants of OCA2 are associated with blue eyes […]

Pigmentation variation in Europe

In the interests of putting informative physical anthropological data on the web, here is something I scanned out of Racial Adaptations. The map below the fold combines both hair & eye color data. Labels: human biodiversity, Pigmentation